mortality
typhoid yeah, right.
theres at least two of us now..
(live forever and NOT die trying)

know thyself
do what thou wilt is the whole of the law
love is law, love under will
nothing is true, all is permissible
that is not dead which can eternal lie, and in strange aeons even death may die
000208
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rollins nothing like mortality to make you feel alive 001221
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*CatMeow* life science

wall of glass
sky of grey
up so high
for the first time today
view so great
mind so cold
feels just like
i'm getting old

(c)2001 (first poem of the year)
010108
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Sam Vaknin The noted economist, Julian Simon, once quipped: "Because we can expect future generations to be richer than we are, no matter what we do about resources, asking us to refrain from using resources now so that future generations can have them later is like asking the poor to make gifts to the rich."

Roberto Calvo Macias, a Spanish author and thinker, once wrote that it is impossible to design a coherent philosophy of economics not founded on our mortality. The Grim Reaper permeates estate laws, retirement plans, annuities, life insurance and much more besides.

The industrial revolution taught us that humans are interchangeable by breaking the process of production down to minute - and easily learned - functional units. Only the most basic skills were required. This led to great alienation. Motion pictures of the period ("Metropolis", "Modern Times") portray the industrial worker as a nut in a machine, driven to the verge of insanity by the numbing repetitiveness of his work.

As technology evolved, training periods have lengthened, and human capital came to outweigh the physical or monetary kinds. This led to an ongoing revolution in economic relations. Ironically, dehumanizing totalitarian regimes, such as fascism and communism, were the first to grasp the emerging prominence of scarce and expensive human capital among other means of production. What makes humans a scarce natural resource is their mortality.

Though aware of their finitude, most people behave as though they are going to live forever. Economic and social institutions are formed to last. People embark on long term projects and make enduring decisions - for instance, to invest money in stocks or bonds - even when they are very old.

Childless octogenarian inventors defend their fair share of royalties with youthful ferocity and tenacity. Businessmen amass superfluous wealth and collectors bid in auctions regardless of their age. We all - particularly economists - seem to deny the prospect of death.

Examples of this denial abound in the dismal science:

Consider the invention of the limited liability corporation. While its founders are mortals the company itself is immortal. It is only one of a group of legal instruments - the will and the estate, for instance - that survive a person's demise. Economic theories assume that humans - or maybe humanity - are immortal and, thus, possessed of an infinite horizon.

Valuation models often discount an infinite stream of future dividends or interest payments to obtain the present value of a security. Even in the current bear market, the average multiple of the p/e - price to earnings - ratio is 45. This means that the average investor is willing to wait more than 60 years to recoup his investment (assuming capital gains tax of 35 percent).

Standard portfolio management theory explicitly states that the investment horizon is irrelevant. Both long-term and short-term magpies choose the same bundle of assets and, therefore, the same profile of risk and return. As John Campbell and Luis Viceira point in their "Strategic Asset Allocation", published this year by Oxford University Press, the model ignores future income from work which tends to dwindle with age. Another way to look at it is that income from labor is assumed to be constant - forever!

To avoid being regarded as utterly inane, economists weigh time. The present and near future are given a greater weight than the far future. But the decrease in weight is a straight function of duration. This uniform decline in weight leads to conundrums. "The Economist" - based on the introduction to the anthology "Discounting and Intergenerational Equity", published by the Resources for the Future think tank - describes one such predicament:

"Suppose a long-term discount rate of 7 percent (after inflation) is used, as it typically is in cost-benefit analysis. Suppose also that the project's benefits arrive 200 years from now, rather than in 30 years or less. If global GDP grew by 3 percent during those two centuries, the value of the world's output in 2200 will be $8 quadrillion ... But in present value terms, that stupendous sum would be worth just $10 billion. In other words, it would not make sense ... to spend any more than $10 billion ... today on a measure that would prevent the loss of the planet's entire output 200 years from now."

Traditional cost-benefit analysis falters because it implicitly assumes that we possess perfect knowledge regarding the world 200 years hence - and, insanely, that we will survive to enjoy ad infinitum the interest on capital we invest today. From our exalted and privileged position in the present, the dismal science appears to suggest, we judge the future distribution of income and wealth and the efficiency of various opportunity-cost calculations. In the abovementioned example, we ask ourselves whether we prefer to spend $10 billion now - due to our "pure impatience" to consume - or to defer present expenditures so as to consume more 200 years hence!

Yet, though their behavior indicates a denial of imminent death - studies have demonstrated that people intuitively and unconsciously apply cost-benefit analyses to decisions with long-term outcomes. Moreover, contrary to current economic thinking, they use decreasing utility rates of discount for the longer periods in their calculations. They are not as time-consistent as economists would have them be. They value the present and near future more than they do the far future. In other words, they take their mortality into account.

This is supported by a paper titled "Doing it Now or Later", published in the March 1999 issue of the American Economic Review. In it the authors suggest that over-indulgers and procrastinators alike indeed place undue emphasis on the near future. Self-awareness surprisingly only exacerbates the situation: "why resist? I have a self-control problem. Better indulge a little now than a lot later."

But a closer look exposes an underlying conviction of perdurability.

The authors distinguish sophisticates from naifs. Both seem to subscribe to immortality. The sophisticate refrains from procrastinating because he believes that he will live to pay the price. Naifs procrastinate because they believe that they will live to perform the task later. They also try to delay overindulgence because they assume that they will live to enjoy the benefits. Similarly, sophisticated folk overindulge a little at present because they believe that, if they don't, they will overindulge a lot in future. Both types believe that they will survive to experience the outcomes of their misdeeds and decisions.

The denial of the inevitable extends to gifts and bequests. Many economists regard inheritance as an accident. Had people accepted their mortality, they would have consumed much more and saved much less. A series of working papers published by the NBER in the last 5 years reveals a counter-intuitive pattern of intergenerational shifting of wealth.

Parents gift their off-spring unequally. The richer the child, the larger his or her share of such largesse. The older the parent, the more pronounced the asymmetry. Post-mortem bequests, on the other hand, are usually divided equally among one's progeny.

The avoidance of estate taxes fails to fully account for these patterns of behavior. A parental assumption of immortality does a better job. The parent behaves as though it is deathless. Rich children are better able to care for ageing and burdensome parents. Hence the uneven distribution of munificence. Unequal gifts - tantamount to insurance premiums - safeguard the rich scions' sustained affection and treatment. Still, parents are supposed to love their issue equally. Hence the equal allotment of bequests.
031014
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glodric Steve Irwin. 060904
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grendel crikey 060905
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thieums At the end of the day
The rich or the poor
The powerful and the powerless
They all come to rest
Dictatorships fall
Kingdoms disappear
Mortality should be blessed as a present
Even if one that kills
080518
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f on marriage:

you are buying a hole, so make sure you put your dick where you signed to, don't go spoiling your tadpoles just because they manipulate your mind. You chose that hole with your heart so stick to your gun and never let your heart manipulate your brain.

Jesus likes whores, he is not the best role model.

whore away Jesus, have a good fuck with Jane, i'm sure Peter won't mind.
080518
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ungreat Surrounded by the mortality of others and myself. There's a target on my back and a ticking time bomb in my chest.

It should have been you. It should have been you. It should have been you. You're next.

After all I'm worthless. I give nothing back. The consumer.
141231
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unhinged he found her on the floor of the bathroom. she was on the toilet when the aneurysm ruptured.

'oh no. this is it.' her funeral flashed before his eyes, but all his years of emergency medical training kicked in. he called 911, did what he could til they arrived.


in the emergency room they gave her a massive dose of morphine and she woke up (!!!!), talking to the paramedics that would be taking her on the helicopter to take her to a better hospital. she questioned the paramedic about his background, asked him if he was hawaiian. when she found out he was mexican, she asked him if he had his papers, he told her not to worry about his legal status and to just let him get her safely to the hospital, chuckling the whole time. she leaned over to him 'i am usually not like this. i am so sorry. it must be the meds you have me on.'




my heart aches. for the past 16 days my mother has been in a hospital in phoenix recovering from massive brain trauma and my father just told me today. because the last time i visited my parents i brought up when my mother waited to tell me about her cancer til after it was over and that i was still upset with her for that. she called me this morning, talked to me a little bit, said she had to go because her phone was dying, and then told my father he had to tell all of us today so that we wouldn't be mad.

'i'm convinced she looked the big guy in the face' his voice cracked and there was a very long moment of silence where it was obvious both of us were trying very hard not to start sobbing 'and told him it wasn't time for her to go yet. i'm sorry.' his voice thick with tears, apologizing for them.

'it's ok papa. i wish i could be there for both of you. you shouldn't have to go through this alone.'

'i don't say these things very often because i don't usually believe in them, but this is a miracle.'

my mother will have a full recovery except for potential vision problems in her right eye.

'maybe you should believe in them more papa.' i said with a sardonic smile.

'maybe i should' he smirked back through tears.


'believe me, if it would have been bad, like as in the end bad, i would have called you and you would've been here.'

i couldn't even try to hide the tears in my voice 'you better. i want to be there at the end papa.'



in recent years, my parents have seemed to switch roles in my eyes. or maybe my awareness and perception have shifted. my mother is so strong she wouldn't even allow a brain hemorrhage to take her consciousness from her. my father is so stubborn he can't even allow himself to let me support him when he has spent the past two weeks in some kind of hell i can't even imagine.

we will all die one day. that is all that is certain. i am blessed with a wonderful family. of that i am certain.
150114
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epitome of incomprehensibility Virtual hugs. It's hard to be far away from your parents in those times (hard to be close, too...)

Not a life-threatening condition, but my mother has arthritis and some days is in constant pain. I try to help her, say encouraging things, but I also get selfish and think, "I hope I don't inherit THAT..."

I'm not usually afraid by the knowledge that I'll die - sometimes I am; it depends on my mood - but it's kind of a relief that you don't have to accomplish anything in order to die, and I've always struggled with deadlines (the kind that don't kill you).
150116
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unhinged thanks. i think the rest of us have taken it a lot harder than my mom. i texted her that i was glad we had a miracle for 2015 and her reply was 'i still have a lot to do. i'm not done yet.'


heres to hoping i don't end up with an aneurysm some day too...
150118
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